Thursday, May 9, 2013

Aaron Lebos Reality Empire Records 2013

I am totally digging the cover art but on occasion we all receive a gift where the packaging was perhaps the best part of the present. The musical gift from Aaron Lebos is the gift that keeps on giving. Reality is one of the best hybrid forms of jazz, funk, rock, r&b, Latin and world music. An artistic mirror image of the diversity in both sight and sound coming out of the Miami area. The Aaron Lebos Reality is loose, open ended and the transition between the myriad of influences here borders on seamless. I can think of a half dozen artists that have tried a similar approach only for the end result to be stiff with the musicians playing the notes but not getting remotely close to the intended purpose of making the music.

While some artists are attempting to rename the improvisational music we have come to know as jazz, perhaps progressive contemporary would be the watch words here. Despite covering an enormous amount of sonic ground there is a connectivity with the audience or listener that most would find undeniable and the freshness of the presentation is like sonic shower for the mind.

Aaron Lebos welcomes you to the land of rhythm and groove with just enough angular bop tossed in for that all important ingredient for any release, flavor! Lebos is more than just the average run of the mill guitarist, he is a prolific composer that has the innate ability to blend sounds as he bends the strings of his guitar.

A deft touch.

Lebos makes a point to give credit where credit is due when discussing the members of the band and it is their versatility along with the ability to change their harmonic path on a dime that shows the unlimited potential this ensemble may have yet to fully tap into. "Brain Booster" cuts a wide path of texture and development that is oddly reminiscent of some early Al Dimeola for those needing a musical frame of reference. Somewhere between fusion and progressive jazz is the musical happy place that Lebos solos in with the same intensity that the incredible band members bring to the table. "Hippy Car Getaway" is a ballad that is dialed back with subtle nuances from keyboardist Jim Gasior and bassist Eric England. Drummer extraordinaire Rodolfo Zuniga is in the pocket at all times and is unquestionably a real deal talent with a slight Dave Weckl vibe. Comparisons to other artists are for the most part inherently unfair but with a debut release it may be the best way to spread the word. "Don Zuinga" is a Latin based world music groove that shows off the technical proficiency of guitarist Lebos while never losing the artistic direction that defies strict categorization. 

Aaron Lebos is the real deal, a force to be reckoned with and certainly a name to remember!

Tracks: Brain Booster; 9 to 5; Hippy Car Getaway; HOngs; Yuenglish; Don Zuniga; Emmalise; Psychic DJ Strikes.

Personnel: Aaron Lebos: guitar/composer; Eric England: bass; Rodolfo Zuniga: drums; Jim Gasior: keyboards.